When it comes to ranking the “greatest” of anything, lists are always subjective. But they do make for good discussion. We put together a ranking of the ten best quarterbacks in the proud history of the University of Hawaii football program. Take a look and see if you agree with the way we stacked them up!
We start the list with a name every current Rainbow Warrior fan should recognize…
10. COLE McDONALD (2016-2018): In his first season as a starter, McDonald threw for 3,875 yards (8th in the country) and 36 TDs (6th nationally. Helped lead UH to a SoFi Hawaii Bowl appearance against Louisiana Tech. His 418 passing yards in the 2018 season-opening win over Colorado State marked the most ever by a UH QB in his starting debut. Still a junior, McDonald could very well move up on this list before his days as a Rainbow Warrior are over.
9. NICK ROLOVICH (2000-01): Not only does “Rolo” still hold the school record for most TDs in a game (8), he did it against BYU – the opponent Hawaii fans love to hate. Went 8-1 as the starting QB in his senior season. Threw for 1,548 yards over his final three games, obliterating the three-game record previously set by Dan Robinson (1,169).
8. JEFF DUVA (1977-78): His stats weren’t gaudy – 2,950 passing yards over two seasons – but you have to consider that Duva played in the first two years of Dick Tomey’s coaching tenure, where the offensive focus was on running. Led the Rainbow Warriors to big wins over the likes of South Carolina and New Mexico, helping usher in an exciting new era of the program.
7. LARRY ARNOLD (1967-69): Arnold earned Little All-American honors in 1968 after throwing for 1,917 yards and 21 TDs. Set 20 passing and total offense records at UH.
6. BRYANT MONIZ (2009-11): Ranked third on the school’s all-time passing list (10,169 yards). First Team All-WAC in 2011. Hard to believe he began his career as a walk-on. Threw for 7 TDs against UC Davis in the first half, tying an NCAA record. Still holds the UH record for most passing yards in a single game (560 against San Jose State).
5. RAPHEL CHERRY (1981-84): Probably the best dual-threat QB to play for UH. Career numbers include 5,046 passing yards and 898 rushing yards. Teamed with Walter Murray to form one of the most dynamic QB-WR duos in program history. Benefitted under the tutelage of June Jones, who served as the team’s QB Coach in 1983. Ranks sixth among the school’s all-time passing leaders.
4. GARRETT GABRIEL (1987-90): Will forever be known as the QB who finally beat BYU. The Pac-Five product starred in Hawaii’s two big wins over the Cougars in 1989 and 1990, outplaying Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer in both games. Ranks fifth on the program’s all-time passing list (5,631 yards).
3. TIMMY CHANG (2000-04): No UH QB has more career completions (1,388) and passing yards (17,072). Set the NCAA record for passing yardage, a mark that was later broken by Case Keenum. His 117 career TDs is second only to Colt Brennan. Has the most games with 300 or more passing yards (36). In terms of most yards in a single season, Chang’s name appears on the Top Ten list four times. Threw for a combined 880 yards and 9 TDs in a pair of Hawaii Bowl victories.
2. MICHAEL CARTER (1990-93): Was there a tougher player in UH football history? Always took a licking, but always kept on ticking. Master of Paul Johnson’s spread offense. Led Hawaii to its only mainland bowl victory, a 27-17 dismantling of Illinois in the 1992 Holiday Bowl. Was more effective as a runner (2,528 career yards) than a passer (3,504). His 38 career TDs places him second on the all-time list, tied with Chad Owens and just behind Davone Bess.
1. COLT BRENNAN (2005-07): Hawaii’s Heisman Trophy finalist. With Brennan leading the offense, the Rainbow Warriors went 28-11 in his three seasons at UH. In 2006, set a still-standing NCAA record for most passing TDs in a season (58). ESPN Magazine cover boy. In 2007, led Hawaii to a 12-0 regular season and berth in the BCS Sugar Bowl. His 14,193 career passing yards is second most in program history.
We’ve recently updated this post. Click HERE to see our latest ranking.